Sweden consistently ranks as one of Europe's most innovative and entrepreneurial nations, and one of the most obvious explanations for this is the country's generous leave policy, which entitles salaried, full-time workers to six months' unpaid leave to start a (noncompeting) business, look after a sick relative, or go back to school. Read the rest
Europeiska unionen är nära att ge ännu mer makt till ett fåtal stora amerikanska IT-företag, i utbyte mot tillfälliga vinstdelningsarrangemang med en handfull europeiska underhållningsföretag — med masscensur och en ännu svagare förhandlingsposition för verksamma europeiska artister som följd. Read the rest
The EU plan to mandate censoring filters for online speech to catch copyright infringement could be finalised as early as next week, and our best hope for halting it is to get the national governments of key EU member states to reject the proposal at that "trilogue" committee meeting. Read the rest
A XVIth Century book held in the National Library of Sweden's collection features a "sixfold dos-a-dos binding," meaning that the book could be opened in six different ways to reveal six different texts ("devotional texts printed in Germany during the 1550s and 1570s,including Martin Luther, Der kleine Catechismus"), with the hinges doubling as latches. Read the rest
The Swedish ISP Bahnhof has a strong historic commitment to free speech, so when the notoriously corrupt science publishing giant Elsevier (previously) sought to force the ISP to censor connections to the open access site Sci-Hub (previously), the ISP went to court to resist the order. Read the rest
Hope they made her queen instantly. ALL HAIL OUR NEW MATRIARCH. Read the rest
Elin Ersson is a 21 year old Swedish social work student who boarded a plane at Gothenburg airport yesterday and refused to sit down until an Afghan asylum-seeker who was to be deported that day was offloaded and allowed to remain in Sweden. Read the rest
When the Danish copyright troll Njord Law started operating in Sweden, it went to court saying that it was planning on enforcing copyright, not engaging in "speculative invoicing" -- a kind of legal blackmail that involves sending out thousands of legal threats on the off chance that some people will pay you to go away. Read the rest
Sweden is sending out 4.8 million booklets to households across the country called, "If Crisis or War Comes" (Om Krisen Eller Kriget Kommer).
The booklet is 20 pages long and explains what to do if there is a terrorist attack, if all the shops run out of goods, if tap water stops running, if infrastructure is sabotaged, if you hear a broadcast emergency alarm, and loads of other really scary scenarios. The booklet is meant to help citizens "cope with a major strain."
This isn't the first time Sweden has prepared its citizens for wide-spread disaster. Last time it distributed a similar pamphlet was during World War II.
According to The Guardian:
Similar leaflets were first distributed in neutral Sweden in 1943, at the height of the second world war. Updates were issued regularly to the general public until 1961, and then to local and national government officials until 1991.
The publication comes as the debate on security – and the possibility of joining Nato – has intensified in Sweden in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and recent incursions into Swedish airspace and territorial waters by Russian planes and submarines.
Here's a fact you can kill with alcohol or a head injury and never miss: Ikea doles out around 2 million of its Swedish meatballs, per day. Here's another: those Swedish meatballs? There's a very good chance that they're not actually Swedish.
According to the Hürriet Daily News, the recipe for Swedish meatballs is actually based on a recipe from Turkey. In a tweet that shook the meat-in-ball-form world, the Swedish government declared that “Swedish meatballs are actually based on a recipe King Charles XII brought home from Turkey in the early 18th century. Let’s stick to the facts!"
From the Hürriet Daily News:
Annie Mattson, a researcher at the literature department of Uppsala University, told Anadoly Agency that Sweden’s King Charles XII lost a battle against Russia and took shelter in Bender, then an Ottoman territory near Moldova.
Having spent a long time in Bender, apparently on a local food bender, Charles XII couldn't bear to leave behind the local cuisine. When he finally headed on home, he came packing the recipes for cabbage rolls, meatballs and, god love him, introduced Turkey's national love for strong, hot coffee to the Swedish people.
Earlier today, The Guardian got their meat hooks on this story and added to it. Apparently, feelings on the revelation, in Turkey are mixed.
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This week in Turkey’s meatball capital, Inegöl, a local chef, İbrahim Veysel, told the Dogan news agency it was an honor that the Turkish dish should have become “an example to different cuisines all over the world”.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy to the United Kingdom in London for more than 5 years, believing that if he were taken into custody by the UK police, he would face extradition to the USA where he would be tried for publishing details of war crimes committed by the US military. Read the rest
The Gävle goat is an enormous straw goat erected anually in the Swedish town. Just as traditional, though, is the act of (illegally) burning it down. Though the authorities have made efforts to prevent the arson, the Gävle goat only has about a half chance of surviving December. Reddit user desfirsit charted the historical survival rates across the month, and found that the heavy-drinking days leading up to St Lucy's Day and Christmas were most dangerous for the Gävle goat: "Only 44 percent of the goats have survived all of december." Read the rest
The Swedish Transportstyrelsen (Transport Agency) botched its outsourcing to IBM, uploading its records to IBM's cloud and then emailing cleartext copies to marketing managers, unvetted IBM employees in the Czech Republic and others. Read the rest
Municipal employees would enjoy an hourlong paid shag break under proposals mooted by a local official. The latest wonder of Sweden's legendary social system seems contrived to mock puritanial Americans, but The New York Times reports that it's for real.
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Noting that “sex is also a great form of exercise and has documented positive effects on well-being,” Mr. Muskos suggested that local municipal employees could use an hour of the workweek already allotted for fitness activities to go home and have sex with their spouses or partners instead. The motion, which is expected to be voted on in the spring, needs a simple majority to be passed by the 31-member council. As of now, opinion on the council is divided.
“We should encourage procreation. I believe that sex is often in short supply. Everyday life is stressful and the children are at home,” Mr. Muskos explained in his motion in Overtornea, a town of about 4,500 in the picturesque and remote Torne Valley. “This could be an opportunity for couples to have their own time, only for each other.”